The House of Representatives passed a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package by a vote of 220-211 Wednesday, a measure that includes $1,400 stimulus checks to most Americans, an extension of unemployment benefits, and tens of billions for small businesses and non-profits.
Titled the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, H.R. 1319 approves $1,400 “rebate checks” for individuals making under $75,000 annually. It also includes $350 billion for state, local and Tribal governments, nearly $130 billion for K-12 schools and $40 billion for higher education institutions.
Over $75 billion was included in the bill for COVID-19 testing and vaccine rollout support, including funding for hospitals, public health agencies, and biomedical research.
The bill also includes $800 million to purchase U.S.-grown food products, $270 million for the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities, $200 million for libraries through the Institute of Museum and Library Services, $200 million for “worker protection enforcement activities” with the Department of Labor and $175 million for public broadcasting.
Prior to the vote, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that President Joe Biden expected the bill to pass and would move quickly to sign it into law.
“With today’s expected passage of the rescue plan, I can announce that the president will sign the bill at the White House on Friday afternoon,” Psaki said during a press briefing Wednesday.
“We expect [the bill to be delivered] sometime [Thursday] and then the president will sign it sometime on Friday,” she continued. “We are, of course, moving full speed ahead on the implementation of the bill, because we know the American people need help and need it as soon as possible.”
President Joe Biden issued the following statement after the bill’s passage:
For weeks now, an overwhelming percentage of Americans – Democrats, Independents, and Republicans – have made it clear they support the American Rescue Plan. Today, with final passage in the House of Representatives, their voice has been heard.
Now we move forward with the resources needed to vaccinate the nation. To get $1,400 in direct payments to 85% of American households. To expand coverage and help with lowering health care premiums. To give small businesses what they need to stay open. To expand unemployment insurance, provide food and nutrition assistance. To help keep a roof over people’s heads. To cut child poverty in half.
This legislation is about giving the backbone of this nation – the essential workers, the working people who built this country, the people who keep this country going – a fighting chance.
I want to thank all the members who voted for it, especially Speaker Pelosi, the finest and most capable speaker in the history of our nation. Once again, she has led into law an historic piece of legislation that addresses a major crisis and lifts up millions of Americans.
On Friday, I look forward to signing the American Rescue Plan into law at the White House – a people’s law at the people’s house.